Tuesday, September 22, 2009

WWDDD? (What Would Don Draper Do?)

I was supposed to go to a fellow beer enthusiast's place to send he and a buddy to the Great American Beer Festival with some extra cash. We were all to donate some money while they poured barbecue and their many homebrews directly down our throats. However, things got busy around our house and I stayed in.

Tonight, I had planned to hit an early show at the 'Tag in order to be back in time to help with Lu's bedtime routine. Friends of a friend are in The Rats and People Motion Picture Orchestra and they were playing the soundtrack to Buster Keaton's Go West. It sounded interesting. Once again, busy happened and I stayed home.

About the only thing I can do these days that doesn't get interrupted (most of the time) is watch TV. Of course, the last thing I've watched this week was Mad Men. And as I watch Mad Men, I wonder what Don Draper would do if he were in my shoes. Would he go out anyway? Would he even be at home in the evening? Which stewardess/heiress/secretary/talent agent/client would he bed?

I know he wouldn't be around in the afternoons when his year-old daughter gets home, hoping to just put in an extra 30-45 minutes in order to get fully caught up but never does because her needs come first.

I know he wouldn't give that daughter a bath or do the dishes while his partner nurses her to sleep.

I am certainly no Don Draper. Aside from the handsomeness, that's a good thing. My experiences are light years (or at least decades) away from Don Draper's.

This is what makes Mad Men so intriguing to me. Don Draper and I have nothing in common, but his emotions and condition are 100% human. I can relate to his humanity, no matter how despicable or lacking it can be. The difference is that I have civil rights and women's lib to steer clear of his ignorant, selfish behavior.

Of course, I bring up Don Draper mostly because he is a Mizzou alum (or the guy who plays him, Jon Hamm is - "I'm not a misogynist. I just play one on TV." ). In fact, he's a little on the creepy side of loyalty.

I do like the comedic and political turns Mr. Draper/Hamm has taken recently.

But I digress.

Life would be easier for a middle-class white dude for myself in the time of Don Draper. I could ignore my conscious or at least be told by the rest of society and culture that my womanizing, drinking, smoking, and absentee parenting were OK. All these things could make my life easier, but it wouldn't necessarily lift the misery.

So, I'll learn from Don Draper's mistakes. I'll scoff and criticize his poor example of manhood (or humanity for that matter). I will resist temptation as he will never be able to do. And I'll remember that Don Draper (not Jon Hamm) is just a fictional character, meant to entertain and not emulate. And I'll enjoy the rest of this season of Mad Men while looking forward to the next.

(Oh, and check out the footnotes.)

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